China Team kicked off it’s America’s Cup World Series San Francisco campaign with flair on Saturday afternoon at the team base along the waterfront.
In what it called a ‘launching ceremony’, the team celebrated with a colorful Dragon Dance – a traditional performance believed to bring good luck to those in attendance.
Earlier, the Chairman of the team, Mr. Wang Chaoyong spoke passionately about his team and its role in growing the stature of sailing in China since he first became involved in the America’s Cup over seven years ago.
“We have had our America’s Cup team, as well as the Olympic sailing in Qingdao, the China Cup, the Volvo Ocean Race stopover, and all of these have helped to raise the profile of sailing in China,” Mr Wang said.
“All of this has meant more and more public interest in sailing. People are now looking at sailing as a leisure activity, a lifestyle choice, and this is something new and growing very quickly.”
China Team is focused on the America’s Cup World Series and the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup as it seeks to develop Chinese sailing talent for future America’s Cup challenges. The team has hired young Kiwi Phil Robertson as skipper, but his role is to develop the Chinese sailors with the team for the future as well as to win races in the here and now.”
“We have decided to take a longer term view,” Mr. Wang said. “Instead of working with international talent just to get better results now, we are looking to incubate our homegrown talent and the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup fits into that strategy very well.”
Like many founders of America’s Cup teams before him, My. Wang brings a strong vision to the Cup and to what his challenge can mean to his country. Historically, China has been a seafaring nation, but in more recent years, that has disappeared.
“I want to help resurrect the sailing culture that has been lost since about 150 years ago,” he said. “I think the spirit of the America’s Cup is what China needs today as a society. The concept of teamwork, entrepreneurship, innovation, that’s what China needs right now.”
As the Dragon Dance wound its way to a conclusion, Mr. Wang spoke about the support his team has received locally here in San Francisco.
“This city has a long history of close ties with China and one of the largest overseas Chinese populations. We’ve received a very warm welcome and strong support from the local Chinese community,” he said.
China Team will begin racing in the America’s Cup World Series San Francisco with official practice on Tuesday, ahead of Match Race Qualifying races on Wednesday.